Kelowna News

Scotch and fine spirits society takes off in Kelowna

Image Credit: Shutterstock

KELOWNA - Born of shared interest and gap in the market, the Kelowna Scotch and Fine Spirits Society held its inaugural meeting this week at a local restaurant.

“They have a group on the Westside but there’s nothing over here,” Claude Hurtubise says. “The club format is the perfect venue. People may be reluctant to spend $70 on something the may not like, but for $30 they can try six different Scotches.

He and Stephen Brown, both math professors at Okanagan College, say they discovered they were both fans of Scotch whiskey by chance a few years ago.

“The focus will be on Scotch but every now and then might have a rum night, maybe Cognac, might be a tequila night,” Brown says.

What started as private tasting nights between them and another colleague morphed into the idea for a club of like-minded individuals.

When they put it on Facebook, it took off, Brown says, forcing them to find a venue — BNA on Ellis Street — instead of someone’s house.

“We started getting friends of friends and it grew very quickly. We wanted to get 15 or 20 for our first tasting but ended up with 35 and some on a wait list. There was definitely pent up demand.”

"And it wasn’t just a bunch of guys. Of the 35 at the tasting, 14 were women,” Hurtubise adds.

The society is already struggling with its sudden success, trying to decided whether to cap total membership or cap the numbers of people at the tastings. 

“If it gets too big, it gets impersonal,” Hurtubise says. “I think 35 is optimal. It helps with costs and it’s not too overwhelming."

Future meetings of the society could include guest speakers and will take place every four to six weeks. Specials nights will mark such occasions as Robbie Burns night in January and International Scotch Day near the end of July.

“I kind of like the idea of Scotch-tober,” Brown laughs. “Maybe we could make that a thing.”

Brown says they will be launching their website soon but for now those looking for information should go to their Facebook page.

The inaugural meeting of the Kelowna Scotch and Fine Spirits Society.
The inaugural meeting of the Kelowna Scotch and Fine Spirits Society.
Image Credit: Contributed

To contact the reporter for this story, email John McDonald at or call 250-808-0143. To contact the editor, email or call 250-718-2724.

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